CSSN News – September 24, 2017 Armed Boardings and Piracy reported off Dominica – UPDATED
Several sources in social media have reported that boats bringing relief supplies to hurricane ravaged Dominica have been boarded and robbed offshore by armed men in pirogues.
The situation in Dominica is evolving, and will be for some time. Without basic communications and no apparent command structure or coordination of emergency relief efforts in place, visiting, or even transiting in sight of Dominica by yacht should be very carefully considered. Unless you are expected and arrive under prearranged escort your efforts may create more chaos and endanger your vessel and crew.
Various groups experienced in relief efforts are beginning to lend much needed support, and there will be many opportunities to support Dominica and its people once these efforts take visible effect.
UPDATE: December 4, 2017
This News item when published clearly identified the nature of its source as social media. Because of the serious nature of the initial social media posts, the intent of the CSSN news item was to inform those considering visiting Dominica in the immediate aftermath of Maria to consider the decision carefully until it was clear that reasonable order prevailed there. At the time, the 2 principle sources who posted in social media were believed to be reliable and credible, both having previously demonstrated significant support for the people of Dominica and economic interests there.
Recently, commercial and governmental interests in Dominica have challenged the accuracy of the initial reports in social media. Specifically, they assert that NO piracy acts occurred. Subsequently, the original sources have deleted their posts from social media.
CSSN cannot factually ascertain the accuracy of claims made by any of the disputing parties. Consequently, CSSN as a matter of policy wants our readership to understand our obligation to inform our readers about this change in circumstance.
November 27, 2017, CSSN announces an exciting new feature – Regional Piracy Infographics, and new Piracy Passage Precautions checklists, also customized by region.
Piracy has taken on a variety of forms in the Caribbean in recent years. Our all-volunteer team has been busy and we are proud to announce an important and exciting new feature on our website to help cruisers easily understand these piracy events. Regional Piracy Interactive Infographics utilize Google maps with an easy to use ZOOM-TAP interface, and of course, can be accessed from your desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Infographics are interactive.
CSSN has created 2 interactive piracy Infographics, one for the Trinidad/Grenada passage (5 events, the latest in 1Q2017) and a second, for the much larger area – the Central American region from Rio Dulce, Guatemala, to the Bay Islands of Honduras and the entire Honduran Coast including the disputed waters off the Honduras/Nicaragua border and southward including the Nicaraguan Coast. (11 events, the most recent in 4Q2017).
UPDATE: December 5, 2017 – The victim has contacted CSSN to advise that no arrests have been made in this matter, there have been no recoveries of the stolen items and that St Lucia police have failed to respond to email requests for further updates. CSSN will of course publish any future updates that are received and relayed to us.
DATE: 2017-10-25 01:30 Country Name: St. Lucia Location Detail: Soufriere EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: Cash and mobile phones, dinghy
SECURED: Locked DETAILS: Guests onboard a chartered catamaran on an SMMA mooring in Soufriere, St. Lucia, were awakened at 0130 am when they were boarded by 4 men. 2 of the men were armed with guns, and 1 with a knife, all had their faces concealed.
Three of the men damaged a deck hatch to break into the locked yacht while the fourth cut the davit lines on the dinghy during this violent boarding. There were 6 members of the charter group, 2 families each with a teenage daughter. The women and children quickly locked themselves inside a cabin. There were many threats and a short struggle. One victim was hit in the face with a gun, the other hit on the head. The boarders demanded cash, cell phones, and passports. The cash and cellphones were surrendered readily and the passports and access to the locked cabin refused. After 20 terrifying minutes of further threats of violence and death the 4 men left with the dinghy.
Reports were made to the charter base and police. The police took NO forensic evidence and told the victims and the charter company that they did “not want any media involved as it might scare tourists”. The charter company has assisted the victims with communications and arranged for a local media outlet to film an interview, which has not been broadcast. The dinghy was abandoned ashore and later recovered.
The police have since asked for some details about the stolen cell phones by email, but have not informed the victims of any arrests in this matter. The victims describe this as a “violent, aggressive and prolonged attack that left their families traumatized” and point out that at no point during the charter briefing were they informed of any “no go” or problem areas. They were advised to use the cable and lock provided to secure the dinghy when ashore.
CSSN NOTE: As a matter of policy CSSN will publish updates if police confirm to the victims that there has been significant progress in this matter.
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DATE: 2017-04-08 02:00 Country Name: Guadeloupe Location Detail: Marie Galante Grand Bourg EVENT: Theft HAND: 2 Stolen Items: dinghy and outboard SECURED: Not Locked DETAILS: Overnight a dinghy that was secured with 2 lines, but not locked, was stolen from a yacht anchored outside Grand Bourg. The dinghy was recovered the next day minus the outboard and badly damaged.